Posted on January 13, 2020, by Travis Pulver
Last year, all eyes were on the amazing young Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers heading into the national championship game. However, this year, Trevor Lawrence and Clemson are back in the title game. But they aren’t getting near as much attention and respect as you’d expect.
The reason is not surprising. After the slow start Lawrence had to the season, fans become less interested in Clemson. A team of that caliber quickly goes out of favor with the public when it doesn’t crush everyone it plays.
Of course, it doesn’t help that Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers burst onto the scene this year to steal all of the attention. They started out strong and finished even stronger. Clemson finished strong but certainly didn’t start that way.
So, it really shouldn’t be shocking that LSU is favored by 5.5 heading into Monday night’s title game showdown. It also shouldn’t be surprising that most of the money wagered on the game is on LSU.
“The last time we’ve seen such a one-sided [betting] event was Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather [in 2017],” Jason Scott, vice president of trading for ROAR Digital/BetMGM sportsbooks, said, via ESPN.
According to an ESPN report, many sportsbooks are seeing 80-90 percent of the money being put on LSU.
It isn’t hard to understand why. The LSU offense and Joe Burrow were that impressive this year. While they did pad some stats against a few cupcake opponents, they lit-up quite a few of the better teams in the nation as well.
But he hasn’t seen a defense quite like Clemson’s.
Dabo Swinney’s secondary was the best in the nation this season, allowing just 151.5 passing yards a game. They rank second in the country in total yards allowed per game (264.1) and have allowed a nation-wide low of 11.5 points a game.
However, while the Clemson defense will likely slow down Joe Burrow and LSU offense at least a little bit, that is not the only reason LSU could be in for a fight.
Clemson’s offense is awesome. Yes, Trevor Lawrence had some struggles early in the year, but they righted the ship before the end of the regular season. The Tigers ended up finishing the regular season with the No. 19 ranked passing game (292.2 yards/game) in the country—but also the No. 11 rushing game (246.1 yards/game).
That kind of production in a balanced attack is seldom seen or contained. LSU has a good defense (No.29 in total yards and points allowed), but not a great one. However, it is also worth noting that Clemson earned its statistical profile against weaker competition.
So—are they as good as they appear or a product of a soft schedule? Their win over an excellent Ohio State team in the CFP semifinal game would say they are that good. But how should you bet?
The over is probably the safest bet (67.5, via DraftKings). With these two offenses, the defenses are not going to be able to do a lot. Points will be scored in this game. As for the winner, don’t be shocked if this one comes down to whoever has the ball last.
Take LSU to win (-220) over Clemson (+190), but, as for the spread (5.5 points), take Clemson and the points.